Monday, August 25, 2014

Last Email!!!!

Wow. Well…I can`t believe I`m actually writing my last email home.  It breaks my heart knowing that in just a few short days I have to say goodbye to this country, the people I have come to love so dearly, and my calling as a full-time missionary.  These last 18 months for me have been the hardest, intense, most spiritual, wonderful, character building and life changing months of my life.  As I have sincerely reflected on this last year and a half, I have come to feel so much gratitude to my Father in Heaven for the trials, tests, hardships, joys and opportunities I have lived.  I have never quite understood the purpose of trials, or why the Lord gives us experiences that He knows will genuinely test our faith, and our deep desires to be obedient, and effect our lives in such a profound way.  Through intense study, and prayer I have come to slightly understand the role that God has designed the Atonement to play in our mortal existence.  I have come to appreciate more than ever before the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ in moments of difficulty, where I learned what the scriptures mean when they say, “Pray unto the Father with all energy of heart.”  Never have I felt so close to my Savior, or felt so carried by His love.

I know without a doubt that my Heavenly Father knows me perfectly, He knew that for ME…a mission was necessary, He knew that I had to serve in the Arequipa Peru Mission, and I am positive that He knew when he called me that my mission would change my life forever.  Each area, each companion, each ward, each experience I have had on my mission has been part of this change within me.  I have felt a true change of heart, and change of priority in my life…I know what is really important and I plan to live the rest of my life as a representative of Christ, of His gospel, and of the joy that comes from living worthy of the constant companionship of the holy ghost.  I testify that the gospel changes lives, opens our hearts, and our eyes to God`s pure love, and sets us free completely.  I testify that there is absolutely no other way in this life to experience the wonderful joy that I have come to know on my mission than through accepting Jesus Christ as the Savior of the World.  Only through Him can we return to live with our Father in Heaven.   I testify that as you study the basics of the gospel and pray with true desires to understand them, that your mind will be opened and you will feel within you a desire to change.  Through my own personal study, the desire I feel now to be obedient in every aspect of my life is something that has been eternally etched and engraved into my heart.

I testify that through our obedience to the commandments of God, that blessings will come in abundance into our lives.  God has promised to bless us as we strive to do what is right. (Doctrine and Covenants 82:10).  Yesterday in church I gave my last talk on obedience.  I felt so strongly the spirit testify to me as I taught the members of our small branch, that God wants to bless us.  He loves us perfectly and desires our happiness, salvation and success in this mortal life more than we even do.  I have learned on my mission, and understand more profoundly WHY I must be obedient.  I do it because I feel closer to God, and the spirit.  I do it because I know with all my heart that this is the only true church, and way to happiness in this life.  I do it because I love my Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ, and I do it because I can feel this change within me continue to grow.  I am forever indebted, and grateful for my mission, and I hope I can spend the rest of my life thanking God for this spiritual adventure that opened my eyes to the eternal blessings of heaven.

I`ll see you in a few days. I love you all!

Viva Perù!

Con mucho amor,

Hermana Carli Andelin Stone

I love Arequipa
One last family home evening with Kelly and her family
Operation Smile
Dinner in Tacna with President

Operation Smile
Sister Conference-Arequipa

  Hermana Deby

Sister Zobrist
Sister Conference-Tacna

Monday, August 18, 2014

The spirit can open our mind…

Hey hey!
Well…how was the beach house? Trust me…i thought about you a time or two last week.  Hope it was as fun as it always is…except for the fact that the life of the party wasn´t there…sorry! Ha.
This week was wonderful…just like they always are! We spent like 80 percent of our time visiting all the members, focusing especially on the less actives, and just showing them love, and reminding of the blessings that come from the gospel of Jesus Christ. The other 20 percent of our time was spent up at the church planning for the sister conference this week, and writing the music for the mission conference next week. I probably spent a good 8 hours or more at the piano…taking me back to the days with Mrs. Tudsburry. Haha…but the music is FINISHED! I have never felt so guided by the spirit at the piano. Heavenly Father and I wrote this music together…he´s such a good guy. I love him! ;)
This week there was a HUGE fiesta in Chivay for one of the virgins of the catholic church...Virgin de Asunta. There was so much apostasía going on it was ridiculous.  The pictures I sent you was of the shrine they made in the plaza for everyone to worship. Yikes.  Friday night Sister Weller and I took a nice stroll/had a dance party in the plaza. You will have to see the videos...they´re great. Anyway...on a more spiritual note...
Yesterday was an amazing day! I love Sundays so much on the mission.  Sister Weller and I got the opportunity to teach gospel principles, and got the best topic in the book…the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I could go on and on about this topic, but I think I´ll just wait until next week. Ha.
Saturday night I had one of the coolest experiences of my whole mission. I was on my knees praying, and thinking about the sacrament…I had an overwhelming feeling of gratitude come over me, and fill my whole body as i thought about it. I have been praying, pleading and studying about the sabbath day for 17 months hoping I could understand even deeper why it was important, and yesterday it hit me like a brick wall. If we don´t go to church…we don´t get the opportunity to take the sacrament.  It´s really THAT simple.  Weekly participation of the sacrament on my mission has changed my life.  Jesus Christ suffered so much so that we could be clean, and we are given the chance…why wouldn´t we want to partake of it? I woke up the next morning with desires so strong to just run all the way to church…just so i could partake of the sacrament, and receive the Lord´s merciful forgiveness.  I testify that the spirit can open our mind…and each thing that is a mystery to us, can and will be revealed in the Lord´s time to those who have a desire to know. “Ask, and ye shall receive.”
I could write and write and write about all the incredible experiences that this past week has brought, and all the amazing lessons I learned…but i won´t have anything to tell ya when I get home ;)
I love you all. This church is true…I promise you.  I know it, and THAT is why I´m here. 

Ps. Sorry I don´t have any pictures this week...I kind of forgot to take them, but I love you all. 

God is at the head of everything a missionary does

Wow. Fastest week ever. On Monday night we had family night with our favorite elderly couple in the branch. We played “hot potato”…the perus favorite game, taught them about prayer, and then the wife got up to make us herbal tea.  We went into the kitchen and she had pulled out green tea.  We looked at her, and then looked at each other…she said, “I have tea, and coffee…which would you like…oh wait…we can`t drink those, can we?” Ha. We were dying.  Next lesson…word of wisdom.
Tuesday we had an awesome district meeting and planned out what we are going to do these next few weeks in Chivay so the members can progress, and the branch can continue to be strengthened.  We went in the evening to visit the relief society president and let her know the changed we wanted to make.  All three of us felt the spirit testify to us in that moment that our little branch will one day, in the Lord`s time, continue to grow and progress.
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday we were in Arequipa.  Wednesday we got into Arequipa in the evening and went to the mission home, but none of the missionaries were there yet, so Hermana Weller and I just sat at the kitchen table with President and Sister Zobrist and talked, ate dinner, and played scrabble for a couple hours.  Later all the missionaries that we going home showed up, and we stayed up talking and playing cards for a few more hours. Thursday we were in training for 7 hours.  We talked a lot about goal setting, and success after the mission.  After the training we went and walked around outside the mission home where I started my mission. It was so crazy to be back there. I loved it! That night we had a big dinner and our final testimony meeting.  All the elders left the next day…yet for some reason I was the only person of 25 missionaries who bawled like a baby…or even shed a tear. Ha. The spirit was one of the strongest I had felt in my whole life.  When it came to me, I stood up and couldn`t come up with any words to describe how amazing I felt.  This work is without a doubt not done by us…God is at the head of everything a missionary does, and every footstep that we take we labor in His vineyard.  Words cannot express how much I love these people, this country, my mission, this work and my Father in Heaven.  I hope to do everything I can to live a worthy, service filled, obedient life, and each day become more like my older brother Jesus Christ...and Chandler. Haha just kidding. Sorry to ruin the spiritual mood. But seriously…”It`s all true people, it`s all true!”

Hermana Carli Stone

Ps. Happy birthday this week Chanman! Love you bro! Can`t wait to party with you in a couple weeks. WOOO!

PPS. I`ll send the pictures from this week later today...the internet stopped working.


 Hermana Laura. Best mission cook in the world. Love her so much!
 Headed to Graficos with the taxi man named Dany. #makingfriendseverday
 Que rico
 First area!
 Wow. So many great memories in this chapel. Love you Graficos.
 Major card time people.
 Hermana Kahle. Love this girl to death!
 Best zone leader. We`ll miss you Elder Cook!
 Oh I just love her to death. First companion!
Second best parents in the world. Love them so much.

 Elder Chipman, and Elder Cornejo hanging out by the heater. Awesome assistants.
 Oh sorry. I just love my companion so much!
 Pajama party…getting serious.
 Sending these boys off to casa.

 Arequipa airport…All the missionaries leaving in August. See ya later guyz.
I couldn`t love this place more!